Rappler's Ressa posts bail after night at NBI

Kristine Joy Patag - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — (Updated 2:45 p.m.) Rappler CEO Maria Ressa posted bail on a cyberlibel case against her on past noon on Thursday after spending the night in detention at the National Bureau of Investigation headquarters.

Ressa and her lawyers arrived at Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 and paid the bail bond of P100,000.

"Bail posted. We're just waiting for the release order," Rappler multimedia head Beth Frondoso told reporters just past noon.

Manila RTC Branch 46 Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montessa, who issued the order for a warrant against Ressa, was attending to a trial at a Las Piñas court.

The Rappler CEO appeared before Manila RTC Branch 45 Judge Maria Teresa Abadilla to post her bail.

NBI agents arrested Ressa at her office early Wednesday evening.

Her camp tried to post bail before a night court in Pasay, but failed to do so. Rappler said that according to their lawyer, the Pasay Metropolitan court judge expressed concern on jurisdiction matters, as the case was being handled by an RTC, and not an MeTC.

Keng complaint

Ressa’s cyberlibel charge stemmed from businessman Wilfredo Keng ‘s complaint against Rappler over an article published in May 2012. He filed the complaint in 2017, five years after the story was published.

Keng, in a statement, called Ressa’s arrest a vindication over “their publication of clearly defamatory statements against me through their online news platform.”

FULL TEXT: Official statement of Wilfredo Keng

Keng wanted Ressa and Rappler to be accountable for a story published four months before the Cybercrime Prevention Actl was signed. 

Laws are not retroactive but Keng raised that the assailed article remains published on the site. 

State prosecutors who resolved the NBI complaint said that Rappler’s publication of an updated article on Feb. 19, 2014 puts its under the “multiple republication rule.” 

READ: A look at the cyber libel charge vs Rappler, Maria Ressa

Ressa released

Ressa speaking to reporters after posting bail, recalled that this is the sixth time she has posted bail in two months.

Rappler is facing tax-related cases before a Pasig court and the Court of Tax Appeals. The Securities and Exchange Commission also revoked the company’s 

A defiant Ressa, who repeatedly said that the cases against her and her company are a “persecution” by the government, also said that she would not duck and hide.

Local and international groups of journalists rallied behind Ressa in questioning the motives behind the legal suits they are facing.

Ressa also said that the arrest and her subsequent detention at the NBI on Wednesday night showed “abuse of power and weaponization of the law.”

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